Pain. A Psychophysiological Analysis by Richard A. Sternbach

By Richard A. Sternbach

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In o u r discussion of t h e t h a l a m o t o m y studies we n o t e d t h a t t h e findings suggested that localization alone could n o t a d e q u a t e l y a c c o u n t for t h e data, a n d t h a t some f o r m of p a t t e r n i n g of impulses m u s t b e a s s u m e d . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , t h e fact t h a t pain could be eliminated w i t h o u t seriously i m p a i r i n g t h e o t h e r modalities implies t h a t it is a s e p a r a t e system, a n d t h a t a patt e r n i n g t h e o r y which assumes t h a t only p a t t e r n i n g distinguishes a m o n g t h e senses d o e s violence to t h e facts of specialization a n d localization.

O t h e r s d i s p u t e this view of two kinds of pain. T h e issue is e m p h a s i z e d w h e n b o t h kinds of p a i n a r e said to follow a single stimulus, a p h e n o m e n o n r e f e r r e d to as " d o u b l e p a i n " (for e x a m p l e , a s t u b b e d toe is said to result in a n i m m e d i a t e s h a r p p a i n followed by a dull a c h e o r t h r o b b i n g ) . J o n e s (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959), for e x a m p l e , has d i s p u t e d t h e reality of d o u b l e p a i n o n t h e g r o u n d s t h a t it is m e r e l y a n artifact of i n a d e q u a t e l y c o n t r o l l e d r e a c t i o n time studies.

W h e n anxiety r e s p o n s e s a r e t h e d e p e n d e n t variable, t h e n t h e r e s u l t i n g i n f o r m a t i o n c o n c e r n s t h e effect of pain o n anxiety —an i n t e r e s t i n g subject, b u t o n e t h a t is n o t g e r m a n e h e r e . Finally, w h e n anxiety is a c o n t r o l l e d e x t r a n e o u s variable, its influence o n pain r e s p o n s e s is essentially r u l e d o u t , so t h a t n o t h i n g can b e c o n c l u d e d a b o u t t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n p a i n a n d anxiety.

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